Cleveland Children’s Book Bank helps kids get started reading

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Dedicated volunteers pack and sort books every day. And the result? Hundreds of thousands of them are distributed to children in the region every week.

CLEVELAND – At the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank, words matter.

“We donate hundreds of thousands of books a year to children in need,” said Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank executive director Thea DeRosa Cerra.

And, just to keep us all on the same page, since opening five years ago, Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank has distributed 3 million pounds to kids in Greater Cleveland.

“Many children who haven’t had a home library, who haven’t owned a book in the past, now have access to the books,” Thea said.

What may seem like a busy job serves a much more important purpose for these volunteers.

“The idea that there are 75% of the kids in the city of Cleveland who don’t have books at home, I’m happy to know that those books are in someone’s hands,” said Michele Sommerfelt , long-time volunteer.

Thea says the mission is teamwork.

“We have 1,300 different partners who order books from us and one of our biggest partners is the school system like (Cleveland Metropolitan School District),” Thea said.

“We work with Head Start programs, county programs, nonprofits, after school programs,” Thea said.

Programs like the Wednesday Book Club at Charles Dickens Elementary School show that it’s not just about reading, it’s about cultivating something at home, which these kids never had.

“They do fun activities and fun lessons. And at the end of the week, the kids can take this book home to help build their home library,” Thea said.

They also rely on something else: early reading.

“Our mission is to create a solid foundation for literacy and reading from an early age. And we want to do this because so many studies and statistics show that kids who have a solid foundation in literacy really excel in school. all around, ”Thea said.

Words matter at home, at school, and at the Cleveland Children’s Book Bank, where smiles and books are free.

Would you like to help the Cleveland Children’s Book Bank? Click HERE to make a donation or become a volunteer.

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